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Hohokam People Expand Settlements

The Hohokam people started their migration out of Mexico into present-day Arizona in 300 BC. They settled in the northwestern portions of the Sonoran desert, particularly the Salt-Gila River basin. This was an area that received a relatively stable amount of rainfall. Which was enough to support a diverse ecosystem. Archaeologists christened this stage as the Pioneer Period (300 BC-500/700 AD). It was followed by the Colonial Period (500/700-900 AD) in which the Hohokam people expanded their territories and their influence within Arizona. The Hohokam people expanded their settlements around 800 AD, which is where it is recorded on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History.

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“Map of Hohokam and neighboring cultures”

The Hohokam started to pour out of their core settlements in the Salt-Gila River basin during the Colonial Period. They did not wander too far from their original settlements. The migrants settled in the nearby Verde Valley in the north, the Gila Valley in the east, and the Santa Cruz and San Pedro Valleys in the South. These areas had one thing in common: they all had the same favorable environment similar to the Salt-Gila River basin that allowed the Hohokam to thrive in an arid region.

The Colonial Period was characterized by the disappearance of large pit-houses they built during the Pioneer Period and the appearance of the Mesoamerican ball courts and capped trash mounds. This period also saw the widespread cultivation of corn, squash, barley, tobacco, beans, and cotton which thrived because of the Hohokam’s construction and extension of their irrigation canals. They also prized some wild plants such as the prickly pear, yucca, agave, mesquite, and the saguaro cactus. Rabbits, deer, antelopes, badgers, turkeys, and foxes were important sources of protein, while domesticated dogs served as the Hohokams’ companions.

References:
Picture By YuchitownOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45030146
Mares, Michael A., ed. Encyclopedia of Deserts. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.
Peregrine, Peter N., and Melvin Ember., eds. Encyclopedia of Prehistory. Vol. 6. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001.
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